This summer, Homegrown Sustainable Sandwiches will open its first shop outside of Washington on Battery Street in the heart of San Francisco’s Financial District. Set to make its debut September 2016, city dwellers can stop into the environmentally friendly shop for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a quick snack. To commemorate the move, cofounders Ben Friedman and Brad Gillis loaded up a 1986 (their birth year) Volkswagen Westfalia van with camping and hiking gear, a canoe, and of course sandwiches, to road trip down the West Coast to meet potential purveyors for the new location.
The founders embarked on the 2,000-mile road trip to explore what makes Northern California such a unique place to eat. “We wanted to really dive into the tastes of the region, not only so we could craft the best seasonal menu items but also to meet with growers and producers who we will be featuring on our San Francisco menu,” Friedman says. “Adventure was also a top priority. We wanted to get out there and enjoy the coastline, fly fishing the rivers and hiking along the route,” Gillis adds.
Every menu item at Homegrown Sustainable Sandwiches focuses on sustainability, locality and offering organic ingredients whenever possible. Part of the commitment to staying local is to incorporate Northern California components into each soup, salad, and sandwich. Items that will be exclusive to Bay Area stores will include the Point Reyes Cobb Salad with Point Reyes Blue Cheese and the Bacon, Egg & Sonoma Jack, a breakfast sandwich featuring Sonoma Jack cheese and local eggs, as well as a seasonal sandwich focusing on the unique, seasonal flavors and producers of the NorCal region.
Taking the local concept one step further, Homegrown Sustainable Sandwiches team opened its own farm in Seattle in 2014. Aptly named Sprouting Farms, the farm supplies all of Homegrown’s Washington stores with hyper seasonal, certified organic produce throughout the growing season. The small-acreage, USDA-certified organic farm is located in Woodinville, Washington, less than 30 minutes away from Homegrown’s flagship store in Seattle.
The San Francisco location will be the 11th store for former kindergarten classmates Friedman and Gillis, who hatched the plan to start Homegrown in 2009 after noticing that people stuck to their ethics of buying and eating local and organic food at the grocery store, but abandoned them when dining out or at the office.
Their fast-casual concept has taken off since its inception and in January both the environmental community and media took notice and Freidman earned a spot in the 2016 Forbes’ “30 Under 30” list. No matter how fast the company grows its commitment to sustainability remains paramount. Both Friedman and Gillis are looking forward to opening the Financial District location, will explore Bay Area charity partnerships, and hope to open other stores in the Bay Area before 2017.
Homegrown Sustainable Sandwiches will be located at 222 Battery Street, between California and Sacramento Streets in the Financial District. The restaurant will be open Monday through Friday from 7a.m. to 6 p.m.
Homegrown is a fast-casual restaurant with a conscience. Every element of the sandwich shop is thoughtfully curated and its impact on the environment evaluated: from the reclaimed building materials used to construct each store to offsetting 100 percent of each store’s electric power usage with clean wind energy, down to the ingredients in each sandwich, soup, and salad. Homegrown opened its flagship store in Seattle, and in 2014, Friedman and Gillis took their passion for local sourcing one step further and launched Sprouting Farms, Homegrown’s very own certified organic farm that supplies seasonal, organic produce for their menu. Friedman and Gillis currently own and operate 10 stores in the Seattle Area and San Francisco will be their 11th location.